Poe’s Law In “The Great Stupid”: Which Is Satire And Which Is Woke Derangement?

Two stories, both head-explodingly idiotic, both linked to Bizarro World Ethics and pathological virtue-signaling needs in oppressive leftist-indoctrination saturated cultures. One is a gag, the other is a tragedy, yet there is hardly a filament of difference between them in the 21st Century ethics and rationality rot they illustrate.

I read the two in succession by pure coincidence, and Poe’s Law immediately leaped into my mind. Poe’s Law was formulated in 20o5 (by Nathan Poe, not Edgar Allan Poe) and has become an essential concept since. It holds that satirical accounts involving extreme examples of ideological insanity can be impossible to distinguish from actual events, because current ideological extremism defies parody. Let’s cut to the chase, for this isn’t a quiz: the satirical piece was “I apologize for my white baby.”

It is genuine satire rather than a hoax; the author drops plenty of clues just silly enough to signal that the tongue is nestled in the cheek as a white mother expresses her revulsion at her own white baby. (“She naturally makes the “OK” sign with her tiny, newborn fingers. When I told my pediatrician I was worried that this might be her expressing solidarity with the alt-right, he said that’s just a reflexive action. My suspicion is that it goes much deeper than that. We come out of the womb knowing the white power symbol. It’s ingrained in our colonizer DNA.”)

Then I read about how Oklahoma Sooners assistant football coach Cale Gundy, the longest-serving coach in college football, had resigned over the weekend because he had uttered a word that was so “shameful and hurtful” that he was compelled to leave his job. The tale was that Gundy was running a film study session for his players last week, and they were supposed to be taking notes. He noticed one player was “distracted,” so in the time-honored fashion of teachers through generations, he snatched that player’s iPad “and read aloud the words that were written on his screen” without focusing on what they were. “One particular word that I should never—under any circumstance—have uttered was displayed on that screen. In the moment, I did not even realize what I was reading and, as soon as I did, I was horrified…I want to be very clear: the words I read aloud from that screen were not my words. What I said was not malicious; it wasn’t even intentional,” Gundy explained. “Still, I am mature enough to know that the word I said was shameful and hurtful, no matter my intentions.”

But not mature, smart or brave enough to refuse to punish himself for simply reading a word out loud. So he resigned as penance, or in shame, or as a symbolic sacrifice to systemic racism, or something. At least he didn’t hurl himself out the window to his death: that was another option.

Theories abound that Gundy was forced to resign, which is no less stupid than if he did all of this himself. The episode as he describes it suggests no misconduct at all on his part, nor, for that matter, on the part of the player who wrote the dreaded, accursed word, whatever it is. Simply making a sound or writing the symbols that represent it are not, can not and must not be a societal taboo in a free society absent context, intent, purpose and effect. The lunacy that an instructor at an institution of higher education has been so indoctrinated by extreme progressive theology that he cannot grasp this is what triggers Poe’s Law.

As a special frosting on the stupid cake is the detail that nobody, including Gundy, will tell us what word supposedly justified his career suicide. You see, journalists are so inculcated in wokeness, self-censorship and The Great Stupid that they won’t even write the word that is central to the entire incident, though their alleged profession is to inform the public. Let’s imagine that what Gundy read off that iPad by accident really is a literal Killer Word that plants a fatal ticking time-bomb aneurysm in the brains of all that hear it. Never mind: today’s “reporters” would refuse to report such a word anyway, thus leaving the next innocent who stumbles upon the fatal letters to meet Gundy’s fate.

It’s unethical to be so stupid. A society that isn’t smarter than this doesn’t deserve to survive.

Even Major Clipton is too kind for such a story: it’s time for the “Plan Nine From Outer Space” clip…


11 thoughts on “Poe’s Law In “The Great Stupid”: Which Is Satire And Which Is Woke Derangement?

  1. White guilt writ large, all caps, in blood.

    We have made even the most innocent racist expression (can thought be next) into crimes more heinous than those for which felony statutes exist. And we did it without bothering with legislation!

    We exist in Bizarro World. I always thought that was just a comic book thing, but alas…

  2. You really have to question the judgement of people who send their children to this university. People should have taken notice after they threw people out of their on-campus housing for singing a stupid and offensive song. Then they should have really paid attention when they threw the people who witnessed the song out as well. They then definitely should have paid attention when they threw out the students who were friends of those students and weren’t present when it happened. They should have taken notice when a journalism professor used the dreaded word in class to explain why you shouldn’t use other slurs against people. They should have taken notice when a history professor was forced to give a grovelling apology and the ENTIRE FACULTY had to undergo sensitivity training after a speech by a Congressman was read to illustrate racism in a history class AFTER a trigger warning was given. But now, now they are going after sports. Maybe that will make people wake up. Probably not. They have a good football team.

      • They were members of a fraternity. The school administered the fraternities’ housing and the school closed the fraternity, leaving them all homeless and I don’t believe they returned their money.

  3. Poe’s law dates back to 2005 according to Wikipedia, and arguably as soon as 1983 if you accept that the following is sufficiently similar.

    “Avoid sarcasm and facetious remarks.

    Without the voice inflection and body language of personal
    communication these are easily misinterpreted. A sideways
    smile, :-), has become widely accepted on the net as an
    indication that “I’m only kidding”. If you submit a satiric
    item without this symbol, no matter how obvious the satire is to
    you, do not be surprised if people take it seriously.”

    • 2005 is right, and I have no idea how 2017 got in there. Fixed.

      “Avoid sarcasm and facetious remarks” is not similar, and I don’t agree with or practice it, either.

      If a facetious comment is sufficiently unambiguous and skillful, I regard the “smile” as an insult. It’s the internet for idiots. I don’t write for the lowest common denominator.

      • I use a smile to indicate my own amusement, not solely as an indicator that it is satire. As such, I don’t think it should be interpreted as an insult when others use it, but maybe I need to re-evaluate.

        I do try to make any satire fairly obvious. Starting with suggesting “a modest proposal” to fix some absurd issue is always fun.

        That was one long quote, and the last paragraph struck me as a similar concept at least, but it didn’t stand alone. It’s also lacking the idea that people exist who will legitimately make incredibly stupid arguments that a naive individual might assume are satire. Possibly because the internet was still new and only available to universities.

        The missing number 8 before the line was a copy error on my part, but the whole post is worth reading just to see the early approach to internet etiquette. The source post can be found at https://groups.google.com/g/net.announce/c/8CsYPJuZ4Hg/m/8em44sgCCVYJ

  4. This “nigger” as Kryptonite thing has got to stop. I think it dates back at least to the founder of a pizza chain (Papa John’s?) saying “nigger” in a meeting, not maliciously or as a slur. He was run out of the company, but it was probably done in some sort of PR, non-substantive manner. Robert Sarver, the managing owner of the Phoenix Suns basketball team has been “under investigation by the league (the NBA)” for nearly a year now. As I understand it, he had the audacity to ask his black coach why an opposing black player could call one of the Suns’ black players a nigger and everyone was okay with that. It’s generally believed (by the undersigned and his son) one of the minority owners is trying to engineer a hostile takeover of the franchise and using this touching of Kryptonite as his leverage. I’m kind of glad this Gundy situation has come to light. Reductio ad absurdum, a rhetorical device, meets reality. Stunning how there seems to be no blow back whatsoever. The response seems to be, “Yep, he’s got to go!”

  5. I guessed you might have something to say about the Cale Gundy story.
    A few things I’ve noticed:
    1. What passes for journalism in this case is just awful. I’ve read multiple accounts, and I’m still trying to figure out what actually happened. What does “not my words” mean? Was the player supposedly quoting him? Or was Gundy in fact only reading?
    2. There is no such thing as a word that cannot be said “under any circumstances.” I confess to a little chagrin that you didn’t link to the Monty Python “Jehovah” shtick.
    3. I think we can guess what the magic word was. Head coach Brent Venables is now saying it was “racially charged” and said “multiple times.” This latter part is a considerable ratcheting up of what Gundy says happened. Chances Venables is lying: not ontological certitude, but pretty damned close.
    4. Gundy’s daughter accused Venables of attempting to cover up what actually happened; she apparently tweeted that Venables had told the players–you know, the people who were actually there–not to comment and to “keep their heads down.” That tweet has been taken down.
    5. Former OU running back Joe Mixon, now in the NFL, savaged OU’s response under a headline “Sooner Nation This Ain’t Right”: “I know racists, I have witnessed both obvious and discreet types of racism and have known and detested even more actual racist . Coach Gundy is the farthest thing from this type of person.” There’s not much to criticize in Mixon’s statement other than the proofreading.
    6. There is more to this story than we know, or may ever know.

    • Not necessarily much more to know. Once a minority claims a white person uttered the ‘word that should not be spoken if your skin tone is lighter than that shown in Appendix 5A.7’, the school has little choice but to fire or severely punish said individual. When the history professor read it from a Congressional speech to demonstrate racism in action, the President’s office was occupied for days by protesters and the protesters gained all kinds of new rights to dictate behavior on campus. OU doesn’t want anyone scrutinizing the program after the last coach left suddenly due to an affair with a team staff member (his wife made him leave immediately) taking his staff with him (who had to pay out their contracts to OU) and the coach before that calling a press conference out of the blue and retiring on the spot with no explanation. The last thing they want is a lot of student protesters bringing this stuff up to donors as well as declaring the program racist.

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